DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced today that Judge Robert Miller has sentenced Garrett Mercado, 32, of Woodridge, to twenty days in the DuPage County Jail. The State had asked for a sentence of one hundred eighty days in jail. Today’s sentencing comes three weeks after Judge Miller found Mercado guilty of three counts of Animal Cruelty, a Class A Misdemeanor and six counts of Violation of Owner’s Duties, a Class B Misdemeanor, following a five-day-long bench trial. At trial, Mercado faced more than two dozen charges as the result of a January 14, 2019 fire at an unincorporated West Chicago kennel he operated that claimed the lives of twenty-nine dogs. Mercado, who operated the former D and D Kennel located at 2N441 North County Farm Road, was arrested on a $50,000 with 10% to apply arrest warrant on July 10, 2019. The following day he posted the necessary 10%, or $5,000, and was released from custody.
On January 14, 2019, at approximately 5:20 a.m., a DuPage County Sheriff’s Deputy observed the kennel on fire. An investigation into the fire conducted by the DuPage County Fire Investigative Task Force found the cause of the fire to be undetermined. The investigation also found that twenty-nine dogs died in the blaze as a result of Mercado’s leaving the kennel for approximately five hours at which time a fire broke out on the premises. The investigation further revealed that numerous dogs were mistreated suffering puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions, weight loss, muscle wasting and dehydration. Additionally, the investigation revealed that the kennel runs were not sanitary; dogs were kept in cages stacked upon one another; dogs were placed in cages or crates too small for them; dogs were inappropriately tethered and that one dog was tethered to a bar in a bathtub in a fashion that would restrict or prevent movement.
“On January 14, 2019, twenty-nine dogs lost their lives in a horrific fire,” Berlin said. “While the fire raged through the kennel however, the man responsible for the health and safety of those dogs was nowhere to be found. At Mr. Mercado’s trial we also learned that prior to the fire, those dogs, along with dozens more, were living in filthy, deplorable conditions with some dogs in cages too small and others tethered inappropriately. This heart-breaking case has certainly touched many people’s lives and it is my sincerest hope that those whose dogs perished in the fire while under the care of Mr. Mercado will keep the fond memories of their companions close to their heart. I thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Alysa Feld and Kelsey Kerr for their efforts on this very sad case.”
In addition to the jail sentence, Mercado will serve two years of probation followed by four years of conditional discharge during which time he will only be allowed to own one dog.
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